Thursday, May 11, 2017

Newspaper Article About the FUN of Creative Aging Classes at JCC

From April 13 through May 10, I've been a teaching artist at the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg (JCC) to 18 older adults. The 5-week artist residency is an Arts in Education program of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Jump Street, as well as a research study for the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

The following article appeared in the newspaper publication of the JCC about the creative experience being brought to older artists.

Senior Update
By: Roberta Krieger

"Who would possibly believe that at our age learning something new (and to many of us, something foreign), would be so much FUN! Well, take it from me and 17 other lucky seniors, a new and exciting world has opened for us. The reason for this is our Senior Club at the JCC was fortunate to be a beneficiary of an "Artist Residency Program with a Research Component" brought to us by Jump Street Arts in Education. It was offered to us at no charge by the generosity of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Our teacher, Cheryl Kugler is amazing as is our very own adviser, Cheryl Yablon, who is always right there to give a hand to those who are in need. Guess the name Cheryl and the word amazing are synonymous.

The program consists of ten approximately 90 minute classes which was open to 18 seniors who were willing to make a commitment to attend at least eight of the ten lessons: the first or second being mandatory. After the first lesson I cannot think of anyone who wanted to miss even one minute, never mind one lesson. The budding artists started to blossom.

The first four lessons (which as of this writing were all that we've completed) were like nothing that any of us imagined. We were told we would not be using any medium that required drying (watercolors or oils) as there is no place that they can be stored for the drying process. We use charcoal, pastels, both chalk and oil, pencils and crayons. I can't explain how much fun it was to schmear charcoal all over your hands without having anyone yell at you for getting "all dirty". Our lessons ranged from drawing our breath (yes, this is NOT a typo), drawing shadows, listening to different types of music from classical to pop and letting loose by drawing with the rhythm. Last be not least was creating musical stories to various pictures. This was where we really "lost" it...NON-STOP laughter. Not counting the serious type percussions, the instruments ranged from homemade noise makers to Fisher Price xylophones and in between. They say laughter is good for the heart. Well, all I can say is we are one "Heart Healthy" group!

Our homework for our next class is to bring a paragraph of something we have written or part of a story or poem that we like. I await this class with bated breath because if my husband's "masterpiece" is an indication of what others are bringing, it will be 90 minutes of hysterics.

Doing my due diligence, I contacted the Curatorial Department of MOMA and have complied with their request to fax over a sampling of our work. They were very impressed and promised to make every effort to attend our final class on Wednesday, May 10th, after which all of our "masterpieces" will be on display. You are all invited to join them. When classes are over there will be a big void in our lives. Maybe Rock Climbing lessons can be next."

Older artists respond to music on paper.

Listening to "The Flight of the Bumblebee" and responding on paper.

via Community Review, Vol. 92, No. 10, May 12, 2017, page 4, Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg

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